Bellanwila Nayaka Thera wants authorities to tell the truth | Sunday Observer
Myan Kumara allegation of abuse

Bellanwila Nayaka Thera wants authorities to tell the truth

9 February, 2020

The allegations spreading on social media alluding that the tusker, Myan Kumara, at the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya Temple has suffered abuse as the result of an ongoing disinformation campaign carried out by a handful of people with vested interests, Ven. Dr. Bellanwila Dhammaratana Nayaka Thera told the media, Friday.

These operators, acting as animal rights activists have a particular interest in protecting elephants and tuskers that are under the care of Buddhist temples,because their Western-based funders are paying them good money for stories that could hold the Buddhist clergy in contempt, he said.

Dr. Bellanwila Dhammaratana Nayaka thera said he decided to hold a media briefing that day, not because of the social media video footage showed no harassment of the young tusker Myan Kumara taking a shower in the temple’s open tank, but because of the potential danger associated with untruths, and half-truths calling it abuse of elephants.

“Let those who know about elephant care decide whether that Eth Patiya (young elephant) has been ill-treated. The officers of the Department of Wildlife, The Ministry of Buddha Sasana, and the Police had recently examined the animal,” he said.

“Since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had called for a report regarding the tusker following concerns of abuse raised by Myanmar with respect to the animal, that the late Mahanayaka, Ven Bellanwila Wimalarathana thera had obtained as a gift from Myanmar, I ask these authorities to give a full report on how we look after our young to them,” he said.

The thera recounted how the current President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, backed the Nayaka thera in 2013 as the Secretary of Defence to transport the young tusker to Sri Lanka in a cargo plane, and how Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris backed them in coordinating related Foreign Ministry documents in this regard.

“The ambassador of Myanmar to Sri Lanka, Han Thu and I would be meeting on February 14. I spoke to him over the phone from Singapore about Myan Kumara. We have no problems with Myanmar regarding this,” Ven Dr. Dhammaratana nayaka thera said.I studied the situation and noticed that a group of people who do not understand anything about elephant care, and two local women with vested interest were behind all this.

“The Eth Patiya was being hit twice by the keeper with the use of a cane, and it was lying flat in the tank in the temple with chains attached to its legs.

This is what the so called video displayed. . The foolish people , who do not know that to wash an elephant in an open tank it had to lie flat, and for the protection of the mahout or the men who wash it, the feet of the animal had to be tied to a post or something,” he said.

“The men climb on the elephant and scrub away the thick muddy layers on its skin using coconut husks doesn’t mean they harm the animal. But what if the elephant climbs on a man’s back ?” he asked.

“They have highlighted the mahouts as using foul language on the tusker. I can safely state that I do not use any foul language on anyone. But controlling a tusker is no easy task.

I do not approve using any foul words on anyone , including the animals. Even those who observe five precepts in the temple on a Poya Day , can sometimes get angry and use foul language against their wives. That does not mean it should happen, But it does,” he explained.

“I haven’t heard of our mahout, Wasantha, who takes care of young Myan Kumara, using such foul language against Myan Kumara, however,” he said.

“And they have said the water we used to wash this Eth Patiya was unclean. We use pipe water to wash young Kumara. The water could looked muddy because of the sand layers we had used in the tank to avoid any possibility of damaging the tusks of elephants from the cement,” he explained.

Present at the press conference were Viharadhkari of the temple Boralesgamuwe Pemaratana Thera The temple’s Viharaya Committee Secretary Kesara Lal Gunasekara and Esala Perahera Committee Treasurer Ruban Wickremarachchi among others.